Manipulative Legislative Tactics. SB318

Manipulative Legislative Tactics. SB318

SB 318 went up for vote yesterday, and luckily it failed. The bill at first glance is a great add on to consumer protection. This bill ensures contracts be provided in the language spoken by the consumer. The problem is section 1 d-i go on to basically slander an entire industry. 

A bit of background, Hertzberg is the author of this bill, as well as SB10 known as a the bail bill.  SB10 is the one where Hertzberg is attempting to remove the entire bail industry, that bill goes on the ballot in November.  The disparaging remarks provided in Section 1 are snuck into a second page of a bill most will not read in order to later manipulate the American public when SB10 is up for vote. I take issue with section 1 d-i which is blatant slander and manipulation.  

I’ve pulled the sections from the bill that we’re not factual, and added comments in italics. 

(d) Various studies have shown that the commercial money bail system does not improve rates of appearance in court or enhance public safety. Instead, it has the coercive effect of inducing guilty pleas by individuals who cannot afford bail, may in fact be innocent, and simply want to be released from detention. This deprives an accused individual of a full and fair opportunity to defend their case. (I would love to delve more into these so called various studies, but there aren’t any to reference. The bail bond itself is the industry incentivize to ensure the people go to court. We have an entire subdivision of Bounty Hunters that remand criminals into custody. If a person doesn’t go to court the Bail company has to reimburse the court the entire amount of bail, not just the 10% paid by the arrestee. The author of this bill is unclear on the judicial system and arraignment process. Bail bond companies do not take confessions of guilt, in fact we bail people out prior to arraignment so they can get their affairs in order to effectively fight their cases. Common sense would negate this entire statement.)

(e) The commercial bail industry profits from low-income Californians by taking advantage of the failures and financial complexity of the money bail system. (We are the only system that will work with low income to make sure everyone can bail out of jail. We take payment plans, and lower premiums for first time offenders and when ever possible.)

(f) The commercial bail industry currently operates as if existing consumer protection laws do not apply to them, despite the fact that they routinely engage in activities that these laws aim to regulate. (This is a far overreaching statement.  This is opinion not fact. The bail industry is made up of large corporations, and family run businesses. You can’t blanket an entire industry with baseless slander.)

(g) Additionally, the bail debt incurred by consumers often follows them for years after the underlying case has been resolved in the courts. This debt subjects them to harmful debt collection practices and threatens to negatively impact their credit. (This is the unfortunate reality of all credit based system, so there is no need to reference bail here, this is a witch hunt of the bail industry.)

(h) Consumers of commercial bail services are particularly vulnerable to predatory practices and are just as deserving of the protection afforded to California consumers who are purchasing other goods or services for personal, family, or household use. (There is not a single bail company that wouldn’t agree that all of our customers deserve the upmost protection. “vulnerable to predatory practices” this again, is unnecessary commentary by a senator that hope to get these damaging and not factual statements hidden into law so he can more easily manipulate the residents of California into voting for his bill SB10 in November.)

(i) This bill does not change existing law. This bill simply restates existing law, clarifying that bail and immigration bond providers are subject to the Consumers Legal Remedies Act, the contract translation provisions of the Civil Code, the Rosenthal Fair Debt Collection Practices Act, and consumer credit contract provisions of the Civil Code. (Sure, you forgot that it’s attempting to disparage an entire industry. With SB10 coming to a vote in November it’s telling that the authors of these bills are hoping to sneak damaging and unfounded sections into the bill to sway public opinion. I think the win for the predatory practices goes to the authors of this bill.)